Some years you love what the Denver Broncos do in the NFL Draft, some years you hate what they do. Earlier today I took a stroll down memory lane, reviewing some of my favorite picks of the Broncos as well as some picks that left me shaking my head. For the first installment of our NFL Draft round table discussions, I asked the staff what they would do with the team’s first selection if they were in charge. With this next question, I’m going down a bit of a different avenue.
We all have our personal preferences in regards to draft prospects and overall draft philosophy. What some of us believe is best for the team differs from others, and more often than not, how we feel about the draft in general is wildly different from the brass at Dove Valley and other talent evaluators across the league. That being said, I decided to pitch this question to the Mile High Report staff:
What is your worst case draft scenario for the Denver Broncos?
Ian St. Clair:
Not getting Baker Mayfield. As Adam said on a previous podcast, when it comes to the Broncos and quarterbacks, I’m sick of them driving a Toyota Tercel and eating Ramen Noodles. I have no idea if Mayfield is the juicy, flavorful beef tenderloin Denver hopes he is, but I want to find out. And the only way to find out is to get it. If that doesn’t happen ... I don’t want to think about it.
If Elway panics and takes Josh Allen or Josh Rosen — or if he thinks Saquon Barkley is the next Terrell Davis . . . He’s not. Or if he moves up for ANYBODY, because NOBODY is worth moving up for. Or if he passes on a QB all together and proclaims that “Lynch is still the future because he was a three-year prospect, and HELLO KNUCKLEHEADS, it’s year three! What did you expect before this? This is why I’m on this side of the table, and you’re watching from your TV!”
I would hate if it we ended up with Josh Allen at five, but I would also hate it if we used our top pick on Barkley. I’m on record as to my reasons why I don’t want us to take Allen, but he’s my rationale for not wanting us to take Barkley at five. In the modern NFL, no running back is worth a top five pick. Why? Because down backs have short careers and we can get a high quality back in the middle or late rounds. If you look at the top 10 (according to PFF) RBs in 2017, very few were taken in the first round:
• Todd Gurley - 1st Round (10th overall)
• Alvin Kamara - 3rd
• Kareem Hunt - 3rd
• Alex Collins - 5th
• Dion Lewis - 5th
• C.J. Anderson - UDCFA
• Le’Veon Bell - 2nd
• Jerick McKinnon - 3rd
• LeSean McCoy - 2nd
• Marshawn Lynch - 1st (12th overall in 2007)
The point is that you can easily find elite RBs in the middle or late rounds. So why waste a top five pick on an RB? I don’t care how transformative you think he is or might be, it’s not 1990 anymore and RBs are not worth a top five pick in the modern NFL. The Broncos have other holes to fill other than RB with that pick at five (if we don’t trade down).
5 Draft Day Scenarios for the Denver Broncos https://t.co/JFR3dmATSl— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) April 24, 2018
The worst thing the Broncos can do in the first round is draft Josh Allen. I’m sorry, but the dude is a bust looking for a place to happen. Other than extremely rare exceptions (basically just Brett Favre), guys with Allen’s accuracy issues cannot increase their accuracy going from college into the pros and do not become franchise quarterbacks. And I’m not talking about completion percentage here — I’m talking about off-target percentage, interceptable passes, and ball placement issues as analyzed by multiple different scouting groups. I don’t care that some coach will inevitably think, “I can fix this guy.” Let someone else fall into that hole — we’ve already got a busted first-round QB to dispose of.
It’s right about now that we’re probably starting to get phrases like “groupthink” popping up in some readers’ thoughts. That’s okay. But honestly, what you’re seeing here isn’t groupthink, it’s just consensus. The draft discussions between the staff members have been long, lively, and sometimes pretty fierce. And they’ve been going on for months. What started as a lot of sharply differing opinions has been turned over and sifted and compared until we found a couple of options that most of us think are the best routes for the Broncos to go depending on how things look when it’s our team on the clock.
In regard to the team’s top selection, standing pat and taking Josh Allen would be the worst case scenario. I would be fine with Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield at that slot, but Allen is one of the ultimate risks in the draft and with the team picking in the top five, I don’t believe he merits a roll of the dice with such high draft capital. It isn’t often that players with such low collegiate completion percentage improve in the pros, and I’m not banking on his ability to do that. He regressed this past year in comparison to the year prior — he dealt with injuries and had a worse team around him, but he didn’t start games off strong, nor did he finish strong. If you can’t get off to a hot start in the NFL, you better be able to lead the team back when it matters the most and he hasn’t shown that he has the ability to do that.
As far as everything else, I’d be severely disappointed if the team didn’t come out of this year’s draft with a top inside linebacker prospect and I would be let down if they didn’t take advantage of the interior offensive line and running back talent either. More than anything, I hope they don’t gamble on players with past injury history or draft guys early on who aren’t ready to contribute right away. The front office has wasted a lot of draft resources over the years with early on picks of players who aren’t able to compete in their rookie seasons. See last year’s draft as a prime example. They need to do better than that and I believe the opportunity to coach at the Senior Bowl should help with their evaluation process and drafting this year.
Josh Allen is likely available at five. His accuracy issues scare me. There is a lot of top end talent, and there are a lot of holes to fill. Wasting the fifth pick on a guy like Allen would be disappointing to say the least.
It actually is drafting a quarterback. I know that a lot of fans will say Josh Allen, but that’s the equivalent of someone saying Gal Gadot or Channing Tatum are unattractive. Sour grapes, the Broncos won’t sniff him.
Drafting a quarterback is something that Denver has done nearly every draft since John Elway took over; this season should be no different. However, regardless of how you feel, the Broncos are sold on Paxton Lynch (who turned 24 two months ago) and still have Chad Kelly essentially coming in as a redshirt freshman. (Kelly turned 24 last month.) They pair with Case Keenum (who turned 30 in February), but if you feel that Baker Mayfield (who turned 23 last month — 13 months younger than Lynch and 12 months younger than Kelly) is going to do more than compete against Keenum/Lynch/Kelly, then you make the move to get him.
So, the worst case scenario is currently under way. The Broncos have not moved for Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold nor Josh Allen and have failed to secure any other position of need during free agency. They may even do something that has worked only twice in the last 20 years... Drafting a guard in the top ten picks.
I’m sure everyone else has said this as well, but I want no part of Josh Allen at number five. I don’t even want him in the second round. He seems like a great guy, but just does not show the ability to be an NFL quarterback with his lack of accuracy and ability to see the field. Besides, we already have both of these talents in spades from another first round QB.
Staying at five and taking Quenton Nelson. Don’t get me wrong, Nelson is an absolute stud, but a guard is not worth the fifth overall pick. I’d much rather trade back and select Will Hernandez in the 20’s. Much better value if you ask me.
So Broncos Country, what is your worst case draft scenario for the Broncos? Give us your thoughts in the comments section and let us know what would cause you to have a draft-day meltdown of epic proportions.